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Sports Minister's Verbal Attack Against FIFA Angers Somali NOC

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The Somali youth and sports minister Mohamed Mohyaddin Sheik has unknowingly accused the international Olympic committee and the world's football governing body FIFA on what he termed as "a wide spread corruption", an accusation which angered Somali national Olympic committee and the country's football Federation.

Talking to reporters in Mogadishu over the weekend, the minister said his ministry must dominate Somali sport saying that IOC and FIFA are corrupt organizations and have illegal representatives in Somalia.

"When a national team or an Olympic committee delegation is traveling abroad, my deputy minister must lead the delegation. Nothing else is acceptable to us. Somalia has been without a functioning central government for two decades during which IOC and FIFA did whatever they wanted, but from now on Somali sports must come under Somali government," the minister said adding that his ministry will recently form a new Olympic committee and national sports federations.

The Somali National Olympic committee and Somali football Federation said in a press statement issued on Saturday that they have only known from the media that the minister accused the international sports governing organizations.

"There was a very developed cooperation between Somali NOC, its federations and the ministry of sport. The minister's comments and accusations against IOC and FIFA have really come to us a surprise and shocked us. We urge him to justify for the great mistakes against the international sporting organizations," the Somali National Olympic committee and football Federation said in a joint statement on Saturday afternoon.

Earlier the Somali sports minister Mohamed Mohyaddin Sheik has forcibly stopped the country's men's basketball championship which was due to be started in Mogadishu last week. "A single sports event cannot be held in the country until the ministry is fully satisfied with what is going on," the minister told the media in Mogadishu earlier in the week.

The minister's restrictions on sporting activities have angered many top government officials including the Mayor of Somali capital and former basketball player Mahmoud Ahmed Nor who emphasized that sports must continue.

"The capital comes under my administration and I cannot accept that the minister forcibly stops sporting activities-we are going to pacify the capital and surrounding regions through sport," the powerful Mogadishu Mayor and former basketball player told reporters.

According to an official at the Somali Prime minister's office who demanded anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to the media, the prime minister ordered the sports minister to accept the continuation of sport.

"The PM told his minister that Somali NOC and its federations must be allowed to do their job without any delay or intervention and if there was misunderstanding between the minister and the NOC that will be resolved" the anonymous government official noted.

According to an information gathered by Somali sports press association from officials within the sports ministry the minister Mohamed Mohyaddin Sheik earlier asked Somali NOC and Somali football Federation to buy a luxury car and build a house for him, but the NOC denied his demands and told him that the money donated by IOC and FIFA to Somali NOC and SFF was allocated to use for the development of Somali sports.

"Al-shabaab have ended and we want to play sport freely. The minister must clearly say that he is Al-shabaab or otherwise he must allow us to play," a Somali Basketball Player Mohamed Dahir Ahmed said.

Shafi'i Mohyaddin Abokar is the NewsBlaze Somalia reporter. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

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